While the high-end footwear of design kingpin Marc Hare continues its march to market domination, a new ready-to-wear Mr Hare line promises affordable luxury with the same signature creativity.
Seven years ago, at a roadside tapas bar in the foothills of the Sierra Nevada Mountains, Andalucia, Spain, Marc Hare had an epiphany. “I was looking at the woven leather shoes of the old gentleman sitting next to me thinking, ‘Those shoes could be so awesome with a few tweaks. But who could I get to make them?’” Five minutes later, Mr Hare, the brand, was born.
Marc Hare stepping out
Impressively, the South London born and bred Hare, 44, now has one of the planet’s hottest shoe businesses. With domestic and international wholesale accounts, he also has smart company-owned retail shops in Mayfair and Notting Hill.
But don’t think it comes easy. Malcolm Gladwell once postulated about how most of success in life is the result of 10,000 hours of practice. Hare has paid his dues and benefits from a long and winding career. He worked at Lynne Franks PR in the late Eighties, opening London’s only proper surf shop, Low Pressure, in 1992. He worked as consultant for British outdoor company Karrimor and acted as a marketing consultant for big-hitter brands including Nike, Adidas, Levi’s and Kangol. Hare was more than primed and ready to launch his own shoe brand on that fateful day seven years ago.
Oh, and then there was his groundbreaking fashion boutique in London, called Something. It stocked, among other things, Balenciaga, Dior, Margiela, Raf Simons, Veronique Branquinho and Martine Sitbon.
What’s more, the peripatetic Hare was able to take only 360 days to get his idea from conception to the shopfloor at the renowned Dover Street Market. Embracing practicality as a starting point, the Italian-made, blake-stitched shoe collection has, year after year, been designed around men’s basic needs; “casual”, “day”, “formal”. The ultimate goal being “to make a small number of essential products extremely well for the people who desire them the most”. Translation: Mr Hare’s shoes are a super-premium/luxe product that aren’t for everybody.
I was looking at the old gentleman sitting next to me thinking, ‘Those shoes could be so awesome with a few tweaks
Mr Hare shoes for every man
And now comes the great brand extension: ready-to-wear. With a retail price point of £50-£500, Mr Hare is aiming for more of an “affordable luxury” proposition.
“I’m interested in why men aren’t as experimental as women so I’ve created pieces that can be worn in different ways with a lot of creativity,” says Hare. “We like the idea that we can now dress a man from the ground up and that a man can turn heads when he walks through the door.” But for now, we can only imagine because, as we go to press, the new collection is not available for viewing in advance of the brand’s presentation at London Collections: Men on 13 June (the same day as the MAN London magazine launch).
With the excitement building – 36 styles and 100 pieces on the rail – Hare’s infectious optimism bursts through. “We’ve made some things that there aren’t even categories for,” he says, which makes us want to see something, anything, even more!
What’s the end game for Hare? World domination, a gazillion points-of-sale, gobbling up other brands? “Actually, my goal in life is to live in a beach house somewhere hot where I can surf my older days away, before I am too old to surf.”
And for this, we admire Marc Hare that much more. ML
See more of Mr Hare on his website here: http://www.mrhare.com/